This is the nineteenth in the series The Case Against Physicalism. In this post we consider the fact that the universe began. There are few discoveries that have caused more consternation among dedicated physicalists than this simple but profound realization. Why does this still rile many and how do scientists propose to escape the obvious metaphysical implications of this discovery?

Image: Wikimedia Commons. Albert Einstein with Georges Lemaitre and Robert Millikan at California Institute of Technology in January 1933. Lemaitre, a priest and physicist, is called the “father of the big bang” as he was the first to suggest that the universe began with a “primeval atom.” Einstein was adamant that there was no “creation even” and that the universe was static, despite his own General Relativity theory contradicting that idea. He accused Lemaitre of allowing his Christian dogma to get in the way of science and told him his physical insight was “abominable.” Perhaps he apologized and admitted that it was his own dogma that was getting in the way of science.

Carl Sagan memorably defined the universe as “all there is.” For much of human history, humans believed that the universe always was. Buddhism and other Indian religions suppose an eternal and infinite universe. The Abrahamic religions presented the idea of…

Photo by Robin Benzrihem on Unsplash

One of the greatest benefits of writing on Medium is engaging with others, some who share your ideas and perspectives and others who do not. Almost since I started posting (now up to almost 75 posts), I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated the interchange with Graham Pemberton, one of the more insightful and thoughtful writers on the same topics that interest me, mostly the space where science and faith meet.

I recently shared my thoughts on Easter and expressed my conviction in the historical truth of the resurrection. Graham responded to that with a detailed and intriguing challenge to that…

Photo by Dennis Guten on Unsplash. Does the world rest on a tower of turtles? The story, told here in the William James’ version, is used to describe the problem of infinite regress. Is there no end to regress when discussing where the laws of nature come from?

This is the 18th in the Case Against Physicalism series. Here we examine the four basic explanations for the emergence of the laws of nature that provide the reliable functioning of our universe and by doing so, allow science to gain understanding of how the universe works.

Most humans used to believe that God or gods, through continual maintenance and activity, kept the world going. The sun rose and set because Helios drove his fire chariot across the sky on a routine basis. The planets wandered the skies based on the continual involvement of the creator.

Now, that view is…

Easter is celebrated around the world especially by the world’s two billion who profess a faith in Christ. But the central and most important issue in Christianity is the historical event of the resurrection. Belief or unbelief rests on this single, crucial question. If it did not happen, Christians are of all people the most to be pitied, as one of the founders of the faith claimed.

Image: Freestocks on unsplash. Easter today conjures up more images of colored eggs and easter bunnies than images of a man dead three days from a torturous death walking out of his tomb. The issue divides, with little middle ground.

Easter celebrates the physical return to the body and human life of a man who died one of the most cruel deaths imaginable nearly 2000 years ago. The finality of death of the…

From ScienceTechDaily. The headline and subhead promise a scientific explanation to one of the great mysteries of microbiology: how do protein folds happen? But, does the research and the article reporting on it deliver on that remarkable promise. Does this story “reconstruct evolution?” Not even close.

Do articles on science intended to educate non-scientists accurately reflect the facts? Physicalism is not science but a belief system or philosophy claimed by many to be based on science. It dominates our cultural drivers including science journalism. Here’s a recent example of how much of science writing misleads.

Readers of the Top Down or Bottom Up publication and my series “The Case Against Physicalism” are well aware of my contention that much of science writing is wrong. Intentionally or not, it presents as facts ideas that are unproven and supports a belief system that misrepresents science. That is because…

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash. Are we living in a simulation? Was the good world a superintelligence created hacked? And does this idea provide any insight into the nature of good and evil?

I once worked with a young, brilliant computer programmer. He looked at the IBM System 34 computer that contained several years of his programming genius and commented, “There’s a cathedral in there.”

I understood what he meant although I could not write a line of code even if all the riches of the world were promised. It was a thing of beauty. It functioned as it was intended. It was an expression of his vision, creativity, passion and commitment.

I suspect most coders today and most people who create resonate with that sentiment. They may not liken it to a…

This is post seventeen in the series “The Case Against Physicalism.”

Evan Sanchez on unsplash. The remarkable beauty that is evident in the universe and the wonders of life and all creation have led virtually all humans to intuitively see in it the hand of a designer. The rejection of this most basic human intuition is an anomaly and a unique feature of our intellectual milieu. While physicalists and their proselytizers have preached against this intuition for many years, the vast majority of people persistently reject their denial of the obvious.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck… you get the idea. (After writing this I read Graham Pemberton’s excellent article on Darwinism and found that I inadvertently copied him. Great minds….) Does anyone seriously dispute the appearance of design in the universe as revealed through science? The argument today is not about appearance but whether or not the appearances reveal design or whether they are fooling at least some of us into thinking they are designed. …

This is the 16th in the series “The Case Against Physicalism.”

Nikhil Prasad on upslash. Mythopoeic writers and friends C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien shared an understanding of sehnsucht, the German word they used to express the intense longing for “a far country.” Sehnsucht is a nearly universal human experience but little discussed today. The failure to understand its origin and meaning leads to many heartbreaking disappointments. But works such as Lord of the Rings bring focus to this experience and suggest its true meaning.

Sehnsucht is one of those marvelous, untranslatable words. As a second-generation Frisian, from the northern Dutch province of Friesland, I learned the word “gezellig” at a very early age. (The “gs” are pronounced softly as if you are clearing phlegm from your throat.) It is usually translated as “cozy,” but everyone who has ever heard or seen the context knows how hopelessly inadequate that translation is. Walk into a traditional Dutch living room, tiny by American standards, where syrupy rich coffee is being served in small cups you will…

This is the fifteenth post in the series The Case Against Physicalism.

Grecian urn image: wikimedia commons. The poet John Keats, moved by the beauty of a grecian urn he was contemplating captured in words what humans have experienced since the beginning of experience itself: “‘Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.’ — that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”.

Beauty, or the aesthetic experience, is one of the most powerful, universal and mysterious uniquely human experiences. But, where does this come from? There are two different answers for the origin of the experience of beauty. The physicalist answer is that this arises as part of the evolutionary process of natural selection and therefore is related in some way to survival of our selfish genes and fitness for our environment. The non-physicalist answer is that these experiences are among the greatest indications of a transcendent reality — a…

This is number 14 in a series of posts called The Case Against Physicalism. The purpose of this series is to explore all the reasons why physicalism is most likely wrong. I am defining physicalism as the philosophical belief that nothing exists beyond physical matter and the forces that control it. Here we explore what has been called the unreasonableness of mathematics in enabling us to understand our universe.

Image: Wikipedia. I find this Nobel laureate physicist fascinating and not only because of an uncanny resemblance to my grandfather. He was a pioneer of quantum mechanics and made many important contributions. His observation of the miracle of mathematics and his appreciation for that gift is considered in this post.

Nobel laureate physicist Eugene Wigner stated the observation most clearly and provocatively:

“The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is…

Gerald R. Baron

Husband, father, grandfather, semi-retired, farm advocate, author, communicator. Deeply curious about science, nature, spirit and history.

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